NYC is really small. And I ran into Dierdre Garrett Whitfield the other day.
On the train platform.
Let’s think about this. In NYC proper, there are some +8,000,000 people spread out across 3 islands and a small peninsula. A great lot of those people frequently use the train/subway which has 468 stations with platforms that vary in length from 525 feet long to 660 feet long. Each station could have between 2 and 20 platforms depending on what transfers are available. During the daytime at any given station, trains may come anywhere from every 2-3 minutes to 8-10 minutes.
So what is the probability that you would end up at the same spot in the same train station on the same platform at the same time as someone you went to high school with in South Carolina? Because I’ve run into Dierdre, Osamu, Joseph Stanek, and David Hawkins on the subway. Not to mention Meggie at Pizza Hut or Lauren Culpepper at a play reading or Patina at a fashion show or some random kid on the train who went to my high school whose name I don’t know because he was so much younger than me and he goes to Purchase now and I just recognized him as being in my general social network on Facebook and we chatted.
And it makes you think how many times have I *just* missed a classmate. Either they were on the opposite platform or the other end of the platform riding at the back of the train or they were in the train that just left or will be on the train that’s coming behind me. I can’t imagine how many near misses there are in this city.
It’s interesting to run into a classmate while I’m with some other friend who doesn’t understand what being a Govie (what we call ourselves) is like. I graduated from a boarding school for artistic youngsters in the South called SC Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities. And I think I can go out on a limb and say that a lot of us, even those of us who didn’t really want to grow up and make careers in the arts, were restless in the South. So we left. We spread out all over the country and a lot of us ended up in NYC.
Some of us left our art concentration behind totally (my best friend was a violin player who now works for Rachael Ray).
Some of us still tinker around with it (I was a saxophone player and now I write marching band music).
Some of us are really successful (Nicole has five movies coming out this year; Patina nabbed a Tony nomination earlier for Sister Act).
But we’re all just some kids who were thrown together in a really unique fishbowl full of huge personalities and big dreams and a little bit of insanity. Now we’re grown-ups forever connected by this weird kinship of having survived high school in a professional arts bootcamp away from our families, a scenario most people can neither identify with nor truly understand.
So more than NYC just feeling like “home” to me because The South made me feel like a tuxedo at a barbecue, my family is here. When you’re a Govie, even the people you weren’t friends with are still like extended family wherever you go. And I’m glad I get to live in a city where I run into random family members every few weeks.
I’m gonna go type “SCGSAH” into tumblr and see what the kids down there are up to these days…